Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: God (page 1 of 46)

When It Feels Like Your Life Has No Direction

I remember sitting in the library of my local community college. I was trying to figure out what career I wanted to pursue, and how to go about life while facing a chronic illness.

Any young adult can relate to the pressures of this world. It’s like as soon as you turn 18, you need to have everything all figured out.

College majors, jobs, dating, and relationships. There’s just so much to figure out, and sometimes it feels like you’re the only one without a clue of what to do–the only one without direction.

When you feel like your life has no direction, this is actually an opportunity for God to reveal His purpose in incredible ways.

A Godly Perspective

God is omniscient, which means He knows everything. He has an eternal perspective that our human minds can’t comprehend.

Although we may feel lost or confused in this life, nothing about our lives ever takes Jesus by surprise.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ (Isaiah 46:10 NIV)

Sometimes we face challenges or disappointments that rattle our faith. Whenever we face life’s hurdles, we have two choices:

We can choose to reject God and trust in ourselves (or give up), or we can cling to the promise that His ways are higher than ours.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

God’s plans may be different from ours, but that’s a good thing! My life looks drastically different than I thought it would 3 years ago, and I’m so thankful for that now.

Surrendering to Purpose 

Trusting in God and clinging to His promises starts with surrender. Often times we want our lives to go a certain way, and when there’s a plot twist, we feel lost. Other times, we just don’t know what it is God’s calling us to do.

There’s beauty in not knowing. This is where our faith can truly flourish. When God derails our plans, it’s always because His purpose is greater.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

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When It Feels Like Your Life Has No Direction

Although it may seem like we are walking in darkness, God is leading us down a path that develops faith, character, and promise.

When it suddenly feels like you’ve lost all direction, this is the perfect opportunity to say “I trust You Lord,” and surrender your future to the one who is always faithful.

A Present Direction

So we know that Jesus is good, and that we can surrender our lives to him in full trust. But what action can we take to better our lives in the waiting?

As a recent college graduate, I know all too well the haunting uncertainties of the future. What will my career be? How will I take care of myself financially?

Worrying about the future doesn’t do anything but make us feel stressed and worn out. I recently received a wise word that has helped me through this season of uncertainty.

Live in the present moment.

Although this might sound like a hippie slogan, it’s actually Biblical.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34 NIV)

God has everything all figured out, and when we surrender our lives to Him, His plans will always come to pass.

We find joy every day while focusing on the Lord and the small ministries he places before us. When we worry over our lives, we miss out on the opportunity to love others and build God’s Kingdom.

When you live a life that’s fully surrendered to God and His daily provision, there is a peace and joy that goes beyond all understanding.

Maybe we got it all wrong. Perhaps a life with an earthly direction isn’t as important as we thought. Maybe our plans are just a distraction from the true purpose God has given us.

A woman who is dedicated to Jesus has a life of purpose and direction. When we look to the Kingdom instead of this world, we find all that we are truly looking for.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

Hello lovely readers and followers! It’s been so long since I’ve done a fashion post, but I’ve heard from many of you that you miss them. Today I’m sharing with you a business-casual outfit that is modest and easy to wear at many workplaces.

I’ve been working part-time at a counseling office since last winter, and I love what I do. I assist the office manager in new client intakes and phone calls. They are so much like family to me that it kind of makes me sad to leave.

But all seasons in life change, and God has brought a new season upon my life. Not only am I getting married, but I now have a new full-time job that I am excited to begin. I guess that means it’s time to reassess (or shop) my wardrobe!

(Note: This post is not sponsored by the companies listed. All opinions are my own.)

Career Essentials  

Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

There are some items that are just office staples. For me, this would be cardigans. I got this red cardigan from Goodwill brand new. It’s Target brand, and you will find a bunch of their new clothing at Goodwill since they partner with them.

Target’s cardigans always fit well and are of nice quality. This red cardigan stands out against black, taking any outfit from plain to dazzling.

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Making a Statement

Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

Let’s talk printed pants. I’ve always stayed away from printed jeans, but loose fitting tapered pants have become my new best friend. They are light and airy in the summer and early fall months, but still professional for most offices.

I love these pants because of their bold colors. They make a statement, and both red and blue are flattering colors for most skin tones. The Japanese-style floral pattern also stole my heart.

I got these pants at H&M two years ago. I also scored the lovely floral pants below for $10 last spring. They have the best deals! 

Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

 

Pulling it All Together

No outfit is complete without the right accessories. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a little lazy in the jewelry department. I don’t like anything bulky, but sometimes I still want to make a statement.

Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

That’s why I love this pendant I inherited from my grandma after she passed away. The long chain feels light and looks vintage, while the geometric shape of the pendant gives a modern feel.

A simple pair of black flats tie this look together. Flats always look simple and classy, but my feet are super narrow and hard to shop for. I found these ballet flats at Payless, and they have the “scrunchy” sides that keep my feet in place!

I hope you’re enjoying the rest of this summer. Fall brings many transitions, both in the season itself and in our everyday lives. Although things can be scary, I’m learning to embrace life’s adventures as they come.

What about you, lovely one? What new adventures have you been on this summer?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography taken by Lauren N. and owned by Emily Susanne 2018©)

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The Secret to Finding True Strength

I’ve never thought of myself as a strong woman. I’m not too physically strong, and I’m definitely emotionally sensitive. People have often seen me as delicate, which is a wonderful feminine quality the Lord gave me.

However, the way I view strength started to change the week my Grandpa was dying in the hospital. He fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a brain bleed. He was in a coma, and passed away after four grueling days.

My aunt and I were in the hospital hallway when she told me that I was strong. Somehow, I managed to keep calm in the chaos. I helped whenever I could and was always there to hold my grandpa’s hand.

Inside, I just wanted to curl up and forget this nightmare was even happening.

Truthfully, the only way I was strong enough for this was through my faith. And that’s when I realized that if I wanted to become strong, I had to seek something beyond myself.

The Pride of Our Strength 

As human beings, we tend to hide behind our strengths. We take pride in being physically strong, or emotionally tough. We revel in our intellectual strengths or our resourcefulness.

Our human strengths are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they should be celebrated. God has given all of us unique abilities and strengths. For some, it’s easier to see what they excel at, while others carry a more quiet strength.

The problem isn’t with our strengths, but when we hide behind them. When the focus in on being the strong one, sometimes we lose vulnerability. And without vulnerability, we lose the ability to let people in.

Not only does a lack of vulnerability shut others out, but it also prevents us from intimacy with God. Christianity is more than just a religion, it’s a relationship with a Savior who wants to transform our hearts.

When we hide behind our strengths, we become prideful. Pride prevents us from seeing our sin and repenting.

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23 NIV)

The only way we can let go of our pride and become vulnerable with Jesus is when we come out from hiding behind our strengths.

Out of Hiding

The problem with coming out of hiding is that it exposes our weaknesses. I know, that’s a word none of us like to hear. Weakness is associated with failure and not being good enough. These are the deepest fears of most individuals, so why would we want to expose them?

The thing about Jesus is that He wants our weaknesses. He wants us to let Him into our ugly parts and sinful messes. He already knows them anyway, so why are we hiding?

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8 NIV)

Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we’ve been trying to hide from God. Instead of coming to Him for help when we mess up or rebel, we run and hide, which only makes our failures worse.

Everyone has weaknesses, and none of us are without sin (1 John 1:8). When we hide ourselves from Jesus, we miss out on the opportunity to have a relationship with our Lord that is full of love and freedom.

The Power of Weakness

Our human strength is weak in comparison to the strength of God. Although we may give off the appearance of having it all together, eventually our weaknesses catch up with us.

But what if I told you that the secret to your greatest strength is found in your weaknesses? You would probably think I’m crazy, but this truth isn’t from me. It’s from God.

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The Secret to Finding True Strength

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

When we let go of the lie that we are strong enough to handle everything life throws our way, we make room for the Holy Spirit to display the power of God in our lives.

Letting go of our pride and choosing Jesus as our strength gives us a supernatural ability we could only dream of. This strength has nothing to do with our own abilities, but the endless ability of God to work miracles in us and through us.

The strengths God gives us are not even about us. Although we all want to feel capable and self-confident, there’s something so freeing about giving Jesus all the glory.

As daughters of God, our strength should be one of beauty, quietness, meekness, and humility. Our strength should reflect the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, a gift the world can never take away.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography by Unsplash)

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Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

Hello lovely readers and followers! Today I am reviewing the book Reluctant to Wed by the lovely Anneliese Dalaba. This is a special opportunity for me, as Anneliese is the wife of my former pastor. I had no idea she was a writer, so when I found out about her book, I knew I needed to check it out!

(Note: This is not a paid review or sponsored post. All opinions are my own.)

Reluctant to Wed is a regency period romance novel that centers on Emma, a young woman from a small farm town in Pennsylvania. In order to save her family’s farm, Emma agrees to move to England and marry the Earl of Devonport (also known as Devon).

Emma dreams of a marriage full of love and faith, but Devon is looking for a marriage solely of convenience. Due to hidden fears from his past, he is unable to trust women and marriage. However, Emma’s beauty and forthright personality begin to awaken his heart for her. Unfortunately, circumstances and people from their past may keep Emma from her dream marriage.  

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Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

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Characters

Once I read about the premise, I was drawn to the story immediately. I’m not well read in the regency period genre, but Emma is the type of main character that I could see Jane Austen dreaming up.

I love character driven plots, which is what Reluctant to Wed is. Emma is sincere and straightforward, especially for a woman of that time period. Reading about her transition from an American farm girl to a British lady in high society intrigued me. Although Emma lacked any major flaws, I still felt she was a believable character.

Devon, the second protagonist, was definitely a favorite character of mine. I loved him and hated him at the same time! Although I could tell he was a man of integrity and had growing feelings for Emma, he was also stubborn and haunted, leading him to make poor decisions.

Anneliese also knows how to draw a reader into the lives of the supporting characters. I was especially fond of Emma’s maid, Bessie. I would really love to hear more about her life story in a separate novel–she is that dynamic!

Favorite Quotes

Learning to accept whatever life handed to her was her goal, and she would not allow anything to bring her down. Her faith was in God and she trusted Him to see her through. (p. 50)

She’d rather hurt because she dared to love than to become bitter and gain a cold heart. (p. 136)

Devon watched her walk gracefully across the room to the door. She was grace and fire. (p. 41)

Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

Final Thoughts

In addition to the interesting characters and premise, I also enjoyed the plot of Reluctant to Wed. Although the pace was slower at times, every sentence was valuable in building Emma and Devon’s world and moving the story along.

I also love the way Anneliese wove the message of the Gospel and Godly values into every chapter. There are many romance novels claiming to be Christian, but don’t even mention the name of Jesus. Anneliese made God a main character in the story in a refreshing way.

I also appreciate that this novel was clean. Although the reader can tell that Emma and Devon are attracted to one another, it is not overdone. Any mention of sex was referenced in their marriage and in a tasteful way. This novel would be appropriate for most teens.

Overall, I highly recommend Reluctant to Wed. If you like romance or regency period novels, then this is a novel you will enjoy. It’s filled with romance, drama, suspense, and even moments that made me laugh aloud.

I look up to Emma’s character as a great role model of a strong, humble, and Godly young woman. If you’re ready to fall in love with a great story and dynamic characters, then you’ll definitely fall for Reluctant to Wed.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography by Joanna Kosinska and Vinicius Henrique)

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3 Lessons Karate Taught Me About Jesus

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of watching Owen, my fiance, practice karate. He’s a black belt, which absolutely blows me away. His passion for martial arts and learning new things is so inspiring, and I felt honored to be able to watch him in his element.

Although some people may consider me graceful, athleticism is not something the Lord has gifted me in. So I was in awe watching Owen and his friends as they showed off their skills.

There are several lessons I’ve learned from watching just that one hour of practice. There were moments when the teacher (called a sensei) corrected his students or gave them some karate wisdom. However, I found that most of this wisdom reflected Godly principles on humility, perseverance, and focus.

Overcoming Failure With Humility

Even though Owen is a black belt, there were a few instances when he messed up a kick or got hit while sparring. Even the sensei messed up at times! It didn’t surprise me that these awesome people failed, but rather, how gracefully they handled each failure.

Each student was humble enough to acknowledge his mistake and accept correction. They were humble and open to receiving wisdom.

This is the posture we need to have towards God. None of us are perfect, but when we mess up or sin, we must be willing to humbly repent and receive forgiveness and instruction in order to live righteously.

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:9-10 NIV)

When we take the posture of humility like David from the Bible, God will honor us and lift us up into victory.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 NIV)

Pressing on Through Trials

Owen helped his sensei teach a newer student different kinds of kicks, and although it was harder for the student to grasp, he never gave up trying.

Perseverance is one of the core values that makes faith possible. The things we want to achieve often take more time and effort than expected. The things we want God to do often take longer than we want them to.

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3 Lessons Karate Taught Me About Jesus

However, when we learn to persevere, we find that it builds our character and strengthens our faith. If life came easily and we got everything we wanted immediately, then there would be no reason to have faith or hope. But there is beauty in pressing on toward the things we are hopeful for.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NIV)

A Karate Focus  

One thing that surprised me as I was watching Owen’s karate practice was the way the instructor often told the newer student to stop overthinking.

When the student was sparring, he was trying so hard to predict his opponent’s next move that he failed to recognize the opportunities for attack right in front of him.

This is so common in my faith walk, and I know I’m not alone. Often times I get so worried or caught up in my own thoughts that I lose sight of Jesus.

Life is exciting, challenging, and surprising. There are so many distractions the enemy hurls at us to take our focus away from God and fill us with anxiety and temptation instead.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)

When we are so focused on trying to figure out our next move and how to win at this life, we open up a target for the devil to attack. The only way to win this spiritual battle is to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. He is sovereign and is the only one who will never fail us.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2 NIV)

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be able to watch my future husband practice such an incredible sport. It’s amazing how, if we have our hearts turned toward the Lord, we can find Godly wisdom in everything around us. When our focus is on the only One who truly matters, it changes our perspective on everything.  


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography by Jason Briscoe and Luke Stackpoole)

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